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October 11th, 2022

Regardless of age, we all struggle at times with letting our real feelings and needs be heard. 


This is the message of The Lonely Toadstool, a story that empowers children to express themselves, knowing they are safe and will be surrounded with a caring community. When the lonely toadstool can no longer hold in his loneliness and despair, he “lets out a cry” and is surprised when the result is newfound friends and a welcome feeling of peace. Forest animals, a gnome, a fairy, insects and more, all creatures he thought were very different from him, hear his cry, and his anguish causes them to cease their activities and form a search party to help their neighbor in need.

As if holding their hand in friendship, this enchanting poetic story gently encourages the reader to see the importance of letting their own emotions and needs be known and to experience the unexpected human joy of exchanging loneliness for love and acceptance.

The Lonely Toadstool

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- Hazel J. (Amazon review)


SOON Available in the Sunshine Shop:
The Lonely Toadstool Stickers!

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Featuring the book's cover design!

The Lonely Toadstool Reviews & Feedback

Colorful Books
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"This book is such an adorable story to help kids learn that they are not alone and that sharing feelings can really help bring you out of your loneliness. In these times when our kids are so impacted by the pandemic and other stressors, it's great to have a book we can share to start a dialog with our kids."

- April C. (Goodreads)

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"This enchanting book combines lovely artwork with a powerful story about love and compassion for others. The lyrical quality of the writing is especially noteworthy. The verses stand out and some are quite memorable. Perfect for children from two to elementary school age."

- John R. (Amazon)


"This book is very timely in our world of confusion, anxiety and seeking a place to share feelings. I’m sure that this book will benefit kids as they find encouragement and validation to their emotional feelings as well as a way to express them. Highly recommend to teachers, parents and even for those in a counseling setting."

- Janice A. (Goodreads)

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"Beautiful illustrations and a moving book to read to a child.  It demonstrates a safe place to let children know it’s okay to talk about your emotions and feelings with family, friends and new friends. Highly recommend!"


- Karen L. (Goodreads)


Or continue reading for more detailed reviews on my poetry

Poetry Reviews & Feedback


Overall Portfolio Review/Feedback on my Poetry by
Writer, Editor & Coach, Ann L. Stapleton:

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Bright Spirit:

There is a dear, brave, compassionate, bright spirit animating Kristin’s poems—an optimistic lover of life whose greatest fear is that someone somewhere might be missing out on all the incredible beauty, excitement, fulfillment, and yes, fun this life affords. You can’t learn this or acquire it. You simply have it or you don’t. And Kristin does. It’s lovely!

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Love for Nature:

Kristin’s genuine and deep regard for nature and animals is lovely and very hopeful and finds its way into so many of her poems. Beautiful, how she advocates for other creatures and for the green world itself. Her poems say, to everyone and everything, and in such a healing way, “Live!”

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Good Guidance:

The speakers in Kristin’s poems often inspire in the reader a high level of confidence and a desire to follow along wherever the path may take him, and this conviction that the journey will be worthwhile is seldom misplaced. Whether to the mysteries of nature, around the campfire of family life, or in the wilderness of a child’s own heart, she is a good guide.

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Belief in Taking Action:

In Kristin’s work, the heights of being are to be reached, yes, but that is just the beginning of a journey that also requires action. She reminds the reader that life is not just to be observed and understood, but truly lived.



So many of Kristin’s poems extend heartfelt, essential invitations to others to “taste and see” this magical world we are so blessed to inhabit. Her poems are filled with many instances of an admirable generosity (both intellectual and emotional) as she seeks to bring everyone into the beautiful circle of life. Lovely!

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Rescue Impulse:

So often Kristin’s poems reach out to rescue lost souls, misfits, or those who are isolated by their own self-doubt. This kindness and refusal to let loneliness win is one of the great gifts of her work. I can imagine that there are many children out there who are in need of her words of reassurance and comfort. This is such a lovely mission to embark upon!



Kristin’s poems exhibit a fine eye and ear for the comedic moments in life, particularly with regard to (though not limited to) the behavior of children. And she has a wonderful ability seemingly to report from inside the mind and heart of a little one, helping the reader feel supported in knowing  (or remembering) what consequential work it is, this business of growing up.



The poet Gerard Manley Hopkins, describing the natural world in his “God’s Grandeur,” writes: “There lives the dearest freshness deep down things,” and I was reminded of this line as I read over Kristin’s poems. Her heart is wide open to this world and her expression is natural and feels newmade.



Kristin’s poems unfailingly exhibit a wonderful degree of empathy, and this ability to enter into the cares and hopes and daily ways of other lives is fundamental to all good poetry. And this is such an important quality to model for the younger generation. Caring begets more of the same, a lovely cycle.



Kristin has a wonderful vocabulary—flexible and diverse, and capable of encompassing deep adult concerns as well as those of children. She possesses a remarkable ability to render the world around her into the charming, honest, heartfelt language of childhood. Lovely.



Wonderful how Kristin’s poems foster a spirit of genuine caring and inclusivity. No one is left out or forgotten. Each one is taken by the hand and pulled close to the hearth to be warmed by human love and acceptance. All are welcome within the gently powerful, powerfully gentle blessing of her words.

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Inspiring Example:

An intrepid, can-do, let’s find the way together spirit informs all Kristin’s poems and gives the reader (especially the young one, I imagine) needed courage and excitement with regard to her own life in all its possibilities. This is a wonderful gift to hold out to others, and you never know how very much it might be needed.



Kristin’s work finds what is beautiful and good in the world and then, not content to hoard such wonder for itself, continually reaches out to others to come share in the abundance and beauty she finds. A lovely sort of sharing indeed! One of her highest gifts.

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Advocacy for LIFE:

As Robert Frost said of himself, yours is a “lover’s quarrel” with the world, characterized not by bitterness or rejection or a desire to destroy, but by a deep and abiding fondness. This animates all Kristin’s work and communicates itself to the reader as an urgent call for full-throttle participation in life and a kind reassurance that joy will come from that.

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Love of Language:

Kristin’s love for words and innate understanding of their power to teach, comfort, and extend love to whoever might be in need of it is evident in all your poems. Beautiful! Just keep doing what you do, Kristin!

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Respect for Young Hearts:

Kristin’s poems are always respectful of children’s experiences, their deep affections and fondest hopes, and she clearly knows and remembers how thrilling-difficult it is to be a little person in a very big world. She comes alongside young ones and invites them to grow upward without ever talking down to them. One of Kristin’s most characteristic and lovely gifts.



Kristin is fearless with regard to subject matter and will enthusiastically take up any topic that suggests itself to her. Yes! Poetry is all about taking any moment at all that signifies, no matter how controversial or usually set aside, and creating a home for that experience in words.



Kristin’s poems are informed by a bold, intrepid spirit that communicates a deep and justified confidence in life and all it holds for us, if only we have the courage to go out and meet it. She is a bold explorer of Life with a capital L! And this encourages the reader to follow suit.



Kristin does a wonderful job of communicating excellent values (for children—or anyone, really) in her poems. Honesty, reverence for life, good stewardship, and the Golden Rule infuse her poems with light and offer the reader (especially children) a worthy path to follow in a sometimes confused and chaotic, even at times cruel, world. Good for her!

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Joy in the Work:

Kristin clearly is living her purpose in writing her lovely poems and she exhibits a blissful attitude when immersed in creative activity. Nice to observe such a happy gardener moving along the green rows of language! And to enjoy the fruits of this labor.

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